Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Service Plan Offers Boost to Navy, Tinker

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Service Plan Offers Boost to Navy, Tinker

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Service counts in the aviation service business, even if it is one government organization supporting another.

That's the message leaders of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base have spread as the unit prepares to fight for its existence in this day of budget constraints and personnel cutbacks. The message has sunk in.

Because of this competitive factor, the air logistics center, for the first time in its 52-year history, has put together a team of specialists to go into the field to service a customer's aircraft on a full-time basis.

In this instance, the team has not gone far afield, only across the tarmac to provide depot-level maintenance on E-6A Mercury aircraft belonging to two squadrons of the U.S. Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One.

Under the pilot program, which began in February, aircraft will receive depot-level maintenance in doses of two weeks at a time, instead of the normal six- to 12-month concentrated period.

"All the work will be done right here in our hangars," Lt. Cdr. Peggy Klein, aircraft maintenance officer for Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Three (VQ-3), said during a press conference Monday to announce the program. "Normally the Navy schedules from six months to a year for an airplane to be out of service for the depot-level maintenance.

"We have 16 aircraft, two of which are always out for upgrades or modification and the other 14 are divided between the two squadrons (VQ-3 and VQ-4). On a daily basis we have two or three in for field maintenance service, and we are tasked with the daily mission of training, qualifying people and routine flying. This does not give us a lot of aircraft for us to transfer for up to 12 months for depot-level maintenance.

"We needed to look at our options. . .and this seems to be the most feasible."

Not only will the program help the Navy achieve greater number of flying hours, but it also can provide a big boost to the air logistics center when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission meets in 1995 to consider further reduction within the military.

"This is our first customer where we have gone to the field to meet their needs," according to Dan Mooney of the logistics center's Aircraft Division. "Next, we will try to expand this program to offer similar services to other branches of the Department of Defense. This is our first interservice agreement."

Who the next customer will be is not known, but "we're going to be looking," Mooney said.

This program, which was tested starting in September, is expected to save at least $37.5 million in maintenance costs over the 30-year life span of the aircraft.

Using technicians from the logistics center makes sense, for some of them have 15 to 20 years experience on the Boeing 707 airframe, while Navy maintenance personnel have only five years experience. …

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